England v Costa Rica Betting Preview – 07/06/18

England v Costa Rica Betting Preview – 07/06/18

England

With the World Cup kicking off in just over a weeks time, England have one more international friendly match to play out before jetting off to Russia as they welcome Costa Rica to Leeds United’s Elland Road. The Three Lions preparations thus far have gone relatively well, they’ve gone 5 matches unbeaten since qualifying finished back in October; drawing to the likes of Germany, Brazil & Italy, whilst beating the Netherlands and most recently Nigeria last weekend.

It seems as though manager Gareth Southgate has chosen his starting line-up for England’s curtain raiser against Tunisia on June 18th. Throughout all of the international friendlies prior to this game, Southgate has opted to play an attacking 3-5-2 formation, with three centre-backs and two wing-backs preferred to out-and-out wide men in the midfield.

Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker has been transformed into a central defender in recent international outings, his pace and agility will be essential in Russia when dealing with the world’s best forwards. Tottenham’s Kieran Trippier looks set to take up that right wing-back position, while Manchester United’s Ashley Young will give the side experience down that left hand side and also provide some fantastic in-swinging deliveries for front man Harry Kane to get on the end of.

It will be very interesting to see if Southgate chooses two defensive central midfielders, or two attacking players in the middle for this match, as his decision will likely be the same as what he opts for against Tunisia in two weeks time. Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli both started against Nigeria on Saturday, however that was just a friendly, and a more conservative approach may be chosen at the World Cup. Jordan Henderson could then come in for one of either Alli or Lingard to partner Spurs anchorman Eric Dier in the middle and give the back three some added protection.

Up top, Harry Kane will be the obvious threat for England in this one should he start this match. The 24-year-old was yet again on the scoresheet in the Three Lions recent 2-1 win over Nigeria at Wembley, so will head into this clash full of confidence. Kane could be rested in place of Leicester’s Jamie Vardy however; Vardy has been used sporadically off the bench in previous friendlies, but could well be handed a start by manager Gareth Southgate to maintain match fitness ahead of the World Cup.

Costa Rica

The visitors for this friendly match will be no pushovers. They made it through to this years World Cup after winning their qualifying group by a clear six points ahead of Panama, Haiti and Jamaica. With five wins and one draw, Costa Rica didn’t lose a single qualifying game in the build up to this summer’s prestigious tournament so head to Russia full of optimism.

Since their final qualifying match against Panama back in October, Óscar Ramírez’s men have struggled for results, losing friendlies to Spain, Hungary and Tunisia. They did manage a win in their most recent clash against Northern Ireland on Sunday though, comfortably beating Michael O’Neill’s men 3-0 at the Estadio Nacional thanks to goals from Johan Venegas, Joel Campbell & Francisco Calvo.

Placed in a group alongside favourites Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia, Costa Rica’s chances of qualifying to the knockout stages of the World Cup look very slim. They’re probably the weakest side in Group E, so will need to play out of their skin to obtain one of those elusive qualification spots. A strong end to their friendly campaign here is needed to bolster their confidence ahead of their opening game against Serbia next Saturday, however due to the strength of the opposition we’re not holding too much hope for them getting anything out of this match.

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